On March 1st, 2010, my friend Walter and I set off on an adventure with my Arabian horse, Sojourner. I rode Soj across America and Walter drove our little truck (with no trailer). The trip began in Los Angeles, California and successfully ended in Bath, New Hampshire 8 months and 14 days later. It was a 3,700 mile ride.
We rode in celebration of family and as an outreach to those dealing with divorce-related depression.
This ride tells a tale of love in many forms - through the people we meet along the way, our connection with the horse, with the land, and with each other.
As this blog goes on it gets more and more in depth with tons of photos and experiences. Snuggle in with a cup of tea and read this like a book. I have switched the blog around so it reads start to finish so you don't have to read backward (except the first entry).
Here is our story...
Boys will be boys.
I am working on a video, but I have a different imovie than I used to work with so it's taking me a minute to figure it out. I want to put together a quick little clip so you can see Sojourner's progress. James has such a way with horses and Soj is progressing beautifully. He looks so good and I don't think he's going to have a problem with this trailer once he understands that there's nothing in there to get him-just food and rest.
Today James and I are riding the horses to what he calls "James' playground". I think it's a place in the desert where we can really let the horses loose and gallop wide open. I'm sure Soj will offer me a couple bucks too after not running that hard in a little while. He was worked for a long while by the trailer yesterday though so he might be okay. Anyway, it doesn't matter. I ain't skeered!!! Running full out through the desert sounds just fine to me! Soj will love it too. That's one of the many things I love about Arabians. That boy will go when asked for pretty much as long as I want him to go. He's willing and ready and then he'll curl up in his little ball and sleep right next to you when he's ready to rest. What a horse.
There are a lot of young people here in Joshua Tree. They are all here to rock climb in the park. Cute boys. No, Linny, focus. But yes, cute boys. Just kidding. Sojourner has pretty much consumed my mind along with this journey and the people we ride towards every day.
Awh, Walter just walked in yawning. I love that boy. This trip has put us through our challenges as friends because we have been under some pretty stressful situations. There was that time in the city when I was stuck on a ridiculous 5 lane road with no shoulder, balancing Soj on the curb, holding him up there with my body. Cars were everywhere and I was causing a little bit of a block on this massive, congested road because people tried to veer away from me and the horse but there was nowhere for them to go. Finally, out of nowhere Walter came with his flashers and just stopped the car in the middle of the lane allowing some safety behind us so we could move forward. It was a big mess. It was so lucky Walter showed up when he did. I couldn't call him to come because I didn't have a free hand while trying to hold Soj up on the curb. I actually never even asked him how he happened to show up at the right time, but he must have driven up ahead and realized the mess we were riding towards so he hung out until we got there. Anyway, things like that weigh on me a little bit, even though I was never really scared, it was still stressful and still settled somewhere in me probably making me a little more on edge than I would otherwise be with Walter. Walter has had the little Tacoma truck which was packed full to the top with horse things and our food. Every morning and night Walter and I had to fully unload the car to get to everything and load it back up again. Usually our food was seasoned with little white horse hairs and things were easily lost.
Sometimes while riding I would get off track and Walter wouldn't know where I was. This would make him a little frustrated with me. One day I headed about 2 miles South when I was supposed to go North. I was headed towards the wrong hills. Walter would get frustrated at me for not knowing my way better and I would get frustrated at him for getting frustrated at me when I had just walked 150 miles and I was sore and Soj was sore and I was up at 4am and didn't sleep anyway because it was freezing in the tent and I could hear that Soj wasn't sleeping because of the coyotes and now I have added on 4 miles and and AND!!!!
My point with all of this and what is so cool is that both Walter and I come out of it hugging each other and both of us realize our wrongs. I think it is a test of true friendship to be able to argue with one another and come out of it knowing that there is not another person in this world I would rather have driving that truck. He has been an angel and I just love him.
Now we have Jordan too which makes things a lot easier and who is also one of the sweetest guys you will ever meet. We have transferred some stuff over to that big orange ambulance and now the truck is a lot lighter. My truck doesn't have the towing package yet so it can't pull a trailer, but the ambulance can. Having the trailer is a HUGE relief. It is going to be full of Paula and Jeff's hay so Soj will be on a constant diet for the entire ride. This is going to make all the difference in maintaining Soj's weight and overall health. The trailer also holds all of my tack and supplements so no more white hair seasoning on our food.
Walter and Jordan have a series coming out called the "Animan series". There is a picture in an earlier entry of them in their alter ego Animan outfits. Yesterday they came back with an ice cream shake for me and told me they had ordered the shake as animans. They also went out and directed traffic as animen. "Boys will be boys" is their response to pretty much everything. Now when James and Kelly come home and Walter and Jordan are competing to see who can throw a log the farthest, get the axe to stick in the log the best, or playing "who can throw the knife from the farthest distance and get it to stick in the box" game, he mutters with a smirk and a shake of his head "boys will be boys".
This morning James came in and asked if I had my camera because both of the boys were passed out on the ground outside by the burn barrel. It was 8:15 in the morning and the sun was out and bright and both of them were still magically sleeping there on the ground. If only I could do that. Things would be so much easier for me if I could sleep through things the way those boys do.
Yesterday they made a pull up bar on the outside of the ambulance so we can all keep our big muscles.
Making the pull up bar
big muscles coming up.
Oh no no no no no.
I miss music. I was able to sing the other night at an open mic here in town which was great, but I miss singing with Cait and I miss my piano. Maybe when we are in different towns I can find churches with piano's I can play. I have this idea from the book "Until I Find You" by John Irving. The guy in that book traveled all over Europe and was able to keep playing in every town on the piano's in the churches.
More trailer training tomorrow. Yesterday Soj got his front legs calmly in the trailer and then was asked to back out. Slowly but surely....he'll get it.
Soj took a nap in a wet spot if you're wondering what that spot is.
Soj and James, Paula and Jeff (who donated all of Sojourner's food for the entire ride), and beautiful Kelly...that's a strong circle there. Paula told Kelly yesterday "I wouldn't be where I am today if it weren't for a soul like yours". I said "me too!!!" That's a power circle right there, I tell ya! Just a big ball of goodness. :)